Background and Resources

Subtopic 1: Ethics and Values

Activity 1.1

Activity 1.2

Activity 1.3

Subtopic 2: Bioethical Problems Identification

Activity 2.1

Activity 2.2

Activity 2.3

Subtopic 3: Methods and Strategies for Decision-Making

Activity 3.1

Activity 3.2

Activity 3.3

Module Summary

Developer Bio

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Ethical Values

The word "ethics" has its roots in ancient Greek and is a compound of the word "ethos," a characteristic attitude or spirit that can be understood both in terms of an individual or community, and the word "technai," an art or skill necessary to produce something, here the knowledge necessary to produce the practical rules or concepts that direct humans in their affairs with others in community. Outside the context of community, the questions of ethics are meaningless along with any supposed values. In short, the study of ethics is the cultivation of that art or skill necessary to living a good life with others.

Though this description appears straight-forward, there is a difficulty today in marking the precise difference between ethical values and values that have no particular ethical meaning, but that are nonetheless factored in to our ethical decisions. These may include economic, political or legal, religious, and/or personal concerns. The purpose of this activity is to prompt students to consider what constitutes an ethical value in terms of its difference from these other kinds of values.

Activity 1.2
Students will research the meaning of ethics in today's world and prepare a definition based on that research that goes beyond a mere dictionary definition. This research may be conducted either online, or by consulting traditional library and other written resources but must include at least three difference sources from the history of ethcis.  The instructor will make it clear that students will find an overlap in some instances, where certain values will appear to have both an ethical and not-ethical basis. For example, a particular law may appear to embody a particular ethical view, while at the same time be explainable in other than ethical terms. Once students have produced their definitions and have received written feedback on them from the instructor, they will meet in small groups to critically discuss their findings. Each group will then produce a definition for presentation to the entire class for comparison and discussion. Presentations may be made in either a traditional classroom, or online. If online, discussion will be carried on in an online forum.